Saturday, January 31, 2015

Fabric Bowls

Needing a break from the "Dear Jane" triangles, I decided to make a few gifts. I had seen a fabric bowl, probably on a blog, that was beautiful and wondered why mine were not as nice. I realized I made mine with old scrap fabric, old & ugly fabric equals old and ugly bowls. My large piece of hand dyed fabric that was drip dyed offered a multicolored option. I was not going to use it for any thing else, and it would probably sit around collecting dust, so I might as well use it. I boldly cut it into 1" bias strips, from the middle of the fabric, where the colors were clearest. A supply of cotton clothesline had been hard to find, most rope is now polyester or some other plastic. Yea, "Big Lots" had some, cheap too. I don't recall what diameter it is, I threw away the packaging, but it is substantial.
The bright colors are green, yellow, orange, rust and a little blue and raspberry, a lot of secondary colors as the dyes blended when wet.
I made the first one round, with two handles. My good Brother sewing machine had trouble with the thickness, I tried a new denim needle, different tensions, different pressure on the foot, and still it kept skipping stitches. My cheap, take along Brother machine had no problem with the thread or thickness of the clothesline, go figure. It stitched up very quickly, with a multicolored Star brand cotton thread, in a wide zig zag stitch.
Getting fancy with the second basket was tricky, I made several loops along the edge, then ran a row across the top of the humps. Two more rows finished it off. It has a nice open feel to it, but is kinda wonky.
I tried to go rectangular with the next one. It was difficult to square up the corners, I pinched it square, but it left a tiny triangular gap in each corner. Then bringing up the sides was tricky to keep it from flaring out.
I am giving a basket to each of the ladies who helped to create it, at our tie dye play day.

I am linking this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click on the badge to the right, and see what other talented textile artists are doing.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

More & More Dear Janes

Poppy inspects the next set of completed Dear Jane blocks, for piecing excellence. Nine more triangles are finished, and my holiday break is over. Only a few more to do, but they seam to be getting more difficult. I am having a hard time finding scraps that are big enough to do the larger triangles. Many of my scraps are larger prints and they are hard to cut up for such tiny pieces.
Originally, I had quiet a lot of this Dutch girl fabric, but after 3 large vintage quilt projects, I am just about out. Only tiny bits remain. I sorted the two boxes of scraps, into large pieces, pieces that will barely fold up, small bits maybe 4 to 6" per side, and even smaller bits. It is fun to just play with the vintage fabric, fold it, caress it and appreciate just how old it is. Some of my favorite pieces are already used up and gone, just a tiny snippet remains.
All three of these blocks are done with paisley fabric, the left is light and airy with a white background. The middle is a border type print and reminds me a Jinny Beyer fabrics. The right, is a dense pink and fuchsia print, but it is so tight, it is hard to tell it is a paisley.
During the week, I managed to piece two blocks and finish the applique on two others.
The fabric for the snowball corner kite is an Indian print, with moccasins, drums, and pots. It was tight fussy cutting the designs and some just barely fit. I pieced it by sewing together 3 blocks and setting in Y seams with half square triangles. It worked pretty well, except the bias was at the edge of the block and really stretched. Last I added four corner yellow triangles and finished the block. I have only a few more to do, 2 of the kites are done, just waiting for applique, and 3 more triangles are not finished yet. So I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! This has been quiet a project, I knew if I stopped at this point I wouldn't get back to them for months. So it was best to keep plugging away, and just do it. Next post----The LAST few triangles and kites. Yea!! Almost done!!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Focus for the New Year

Everyone has been talking about a "WORD" for the new year, to focus on improvements or themes in your art work. Immediately "Refuge" came to mind. As my husband's condition gets worse, he takes more and more of my time in care taking. I see my sewing studio as my refuge. To get away from the stress and relax for a few stolen moments. Sewing centers me, calms me, distracts me from "Real Life." People ask me how I get so much work done, on a regular basis. For one, I work a split shift driving school bus, so I have 4 hours in the middle of the day to sew. Second, I'd much rather sew and create, than do dishes or clean the bathroom. Even if I just take 10 extra minutes, before I go to work, at 5AM, I can do a lot. I once sewed hundreds of beads onto a wall hanging, sewing 10 beads every morning before work. I am not a worrier, I know things are going to get worse, so I am saving my worry for later, and also a lot of the stress. But I am reaching a breaking point, more and more, when I just get over whelmed, and need a rest, to sit for five minutes and sew. Even if it is just "zombie" sewing, feeding 2 scraps into the machine, over and over, until I have made a fat quarter of scrap fabric. Then I cut out hearts for charity baby quilts. When I do this type of sewing, my mind disconnects and I just float in the flow of mindless sewing. Since my hands have been hurting more and more, and I do less hand sewing, I miss having a little Ziplock bag, with applique, or English paper pieced hexagons, to distract me as I watch TV or sit in Doctor' s offices. My New Years resolution for years has been to finish projects! Get on bindings and labels, add borders or put blocks together with sashing. I usually got 5 or 6 pieces finished in January and February every year. And I promised myself, if I started a new project, it would be small and I would finish it too, and not add to the problem. So I think I will get some of the tedious finishing done, while I relax and meditate, or let my mind wander. Finishing always gives me a great sense of satisfaction. Have a Great start to your New Year!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Kelp Knot

I have started a new project, to make another 3-D art piece, from one of my photos. I printed the knot of dried kelp onto 4 pieces of 8 x 11 fabric, with my home computer. I always increase the contrast and saturation in Photoshop, when printing on fabric, especially since this one is so monotone. I trimmed and then fused the 4 sections together. Thread painting was done before the batting was added, so I could have detail stitching on the tubes, but still trapunto them so they would stand up and look more dimensional. I machine free motion stitch with rayon threads, I used cream, yellow, yellow/gold and rusty orange, also tan, medium brown and dark brown in the background. I added an extra layer of batting to 3 of the largest tubes, then the rest was quilted and the results are lots of texture.
I began embellishing with shells and seed beads, but only a little at a time, as my hands hurt too much, to do more than a little hand work at a time. I want to add some sand dollars, but I think real ones are too fragile, so I'm thinking of scanning a couple and doing them in fabric. I am also debating with myself, about adding bottle caps, or bits of plastic. Our textile arts group, Fyber Cafe, has a challenge now for "Free Floating Flabbergast" and I think this fits the theme wonderfully, and bits of plastic and stuff would be good, but I also like "pretty" and think of just using shells and beads.
This is the cartoon, that inspired our challenge, I hope you can read the words, it did not scan well. I'm debating titles for this also, Free Floating Sea Wrack, Kelp Knot, Kelp Macrame, Flotsam and Jetsam.

I am linking this to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Friday" click on the badge in the right hand column to see what other wonderful textile artists are creating.

Ten More Dear Janes

I'm still working away at more triangle blocks for the "Dear Jane" border. It is getting to be rather a chore, but I do a little bit every day, and I'm amazed how much I got done. I have 28 triangles finished! Whew! Since December 20, that's almost 3 per day. There are also about 10 that are half finished and waiting for some hand work. If I get them done, maybe I'll spend spring break working on the sashing and getting it all put together. I think I started 3 or 4 years ago with the blocks. Not too bad, for a project of this size! I have not laid all the blocks out to see them, I don't have a big enough floor space. I did take a break and work on a more artsy project this week. Check out the next post.
Closeup views, so you can see the vintage fabric.